1 - The Reach of Empire (GM Reference)


Against the Aeon Throne

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Xenocrat wrote:
dubiousmx wrote:
I started running this yesterday for my group and I noticed that it seems that the cadet's EAC and KAC are off. They are wearing troop ceremonial armour (+1 EAC, +3 EAC) and have a +2 Dex bonus. But the listed values for the cadets are 11 EAC, 13 EAC and don't seem to include the dex bonus. Am I missing something or is this a mistake?
NPC stats are based on CR and designer intent. Attack bonuses and AC aren’t constrained by or calculated based on stats or gear.

I see. I haven't looked through the Alien Archive that much yet so I didn't realize this. I had a feeling it was something I was missing. Still trying to get used to all the differences between Pathfinder and Starfinder. Thanks for the info!

Grand Lodge

I'm running a party of 5, wanted to know if everyone had their party at level 3 before the Sharu fight or did you all level them up once they were completely done with book 1. I know there is normally a spike in power for the players once they hit level 3. I don't want them to die to being under leveled but I also don't want it to be a super easy fight for them also. I already increased the amount of HP Sharu has but I'm looking for some other suggestions as well.

Acquisitives

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Sekou wrote:
I'm running a party of 5, wanted to know if everyone had their party at level 3 before the Sharu fight or did you all level them up once they were completely done with book 1. I know there is normally a spike in power for the players once they hit level 3. I don't want them to die to being under leveled but I also don't want it to be a super easy fight for them also. I already increased the amount of HP Sharu has but I'm looking for some other suggestions as well.

We ran it Starfinder Society with a group of six level 1s. Since you don't gain a level in SFS until after the entire AP, none of us had even hit 2 before the final encounter.

We did fine. The Solarian went down and I was injured, but we took her down the same round as that happened.

That said, we were a coordinated group of no-nonsense beat stick level 1 PCs designed to roll combat encounters.

Witchwyrd Envoy (Clever Feint w/melee flanking) [me]
Korasha Lashunta Solarian (Weapon)
Dwarf Soldier (Heavy Weapon)
Human Soldier (Bombard)
Nuar Technomancer
Sarcesian Soldier (Sharpshooter)

I think that you don't need to level them up to 3 before the final encounter unless they are having trouble with the encounters leading up to her in the ship.

Scarab Sages

Sekou wrote:
I'm running a party of 5, wanted to know if everyone had their party at level 3 before the Sharu fight or did you all level them up once they were completely done with book 1. I know there is normally a spike in power for the players once they hit level 3. I don't want them to die to being under leveled but I also don't want it to be a super easy fight for them also. I already increased the amount of HP Sharu has but I'm looking for some other suggestions as well.

Book 2 actually says that PCs start the adventure at 3rd level.


What condition does Drift Stasis Sickness cause? (Pg48)

Thanks!

Paizo Employee Developer

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RocketLettuce wrote:

What condition does Drift Stasis Sickness cause? (Pg48)

Thanks!

Drift stasis sickness uses the physical disease track (Core Rulebook p. 414) to impart its conditions.


Stiletto wrote:

OK, what is the purpose of Mission E: Storehouse Ruse? So, the store clerk is dressed in the cadet's armor, examining his weapon and I know my PCs are going to see a lone cadet, in an enclosed space, and they're going to immediately take him out only to find out it is one of the settlers. The guy has the helmet on, so they won't be able to instantly tell that he's not a cadet, he's got a weapon and seems to have just trashed the place. Yes, there's a skill check to notice the odd behavior, but still I prefer not to force my players to roll checks like that unless they ask for it (I may have to do so this time).

On a side note, I'm going to have a little fun with my players. As soon as they land on Nakondis and exit their ship, I'm going to have two Goblins drop out of one of the landing gear bays and run off into the jungle. "Great, you guys just introduced Goblins to the Nakondis ecology!" Maybe I'll have some goblins show up later or maybe Hobgar/Goblin mixes.

Storehouse Ruse is the most flawed encounter in Part 2. While The Reach of Empire is excellent overall, this encounter doesn't rise above the bar.

The idiocy of a colonist dressing up as an Azlanti and then remaining in the storehouse is problematic on its own. However, the structure of the encounter itself is even more problematic. Aibretta knows that an Aeon Guard cadet was sent to the storehouse and worries that Rendell might have attempted some ill-advised heroics.

Problem 1) This comes on the heels of Aibretta having just informed the PCs that the bulk of the colony has been cowed by the Azlanti. Rendell isn't one of the colony's rebels. Some context regarding Aibretta's opinion of Rendell such as "he's an idealist, he's not too bright", etc. would be helpful.

Problem 2) Rendell is an idiot, apparently, even if it's a panic-induced idiocy. Rendell fears discovery in a tiny colony and feels the best course of action is to disguise himself as a foreign soldier where he doesn't speak Azlanti and stay where he is with the body of a dead soldier? He doesn't attempt to flee? He doesn't seek refuge with a friend?

Problem 3) This is the biggest issue with the encounter. It only logically works as a time-bound encounter. By the time Aibretta informs the players, the clock has already been running. Cadets or not, the Azlanti are military occupying a hostile colony. They don't do check-ins on a regular & frequent basis? In my game my players didn't go to check the storehouse first. By the time that they got around to it half a day later, they discovered the storehouse empty as Azlanti reinforcements had taken Rendell into custody and reclaimed their fallen comrade. Rendell got bundled into the Execution encounter instead.

Problem 4) Aibretta is concerned Rendell might do/say something ill-advised and thinks sending strangers to check it out is the right move? She could have gone to the storehouse herself without arousing suspicion as could any other colonist.

Unfortunately, this entire encounter falls into the forced - "provide necessary XP/illogical fetch-quest"-style.


Getting ready to run this adventure for a group of mine. Any notes that anyone might have to a DM about to run this adventure?


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Aunders wrote:
Getting ready to run this adventure for a group of mine. Any notes that anyone might have to a DM about to run this adventure?

Reach of Empire has great story hooks and a cool concept and pays homage to some classic Star Wars style imagery and action. I like it quite a bit. If you check out my review, however, you can see that I do think it has some structural and plot problems. I feel pretty strongly that these issues were inflicted upon it by Starfinder AP’s lower page count.

For my playthrough, I had read the adventure but my group wanted to play early so I ran it pretty much as written. A lot of the issues that I have with the adventure could be modified or removed with a bit of additional prep. We had fun but I feel it was a missed opportunity. It could have been much more memorable with a bit of tweaking.

KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER
The list below deals with most of the issues I have with The Reach of Empire.

1. Azlanti Communications Capability – This is detailed in the module, though much later in than it should be. However, there is little discussion of how the Azlanti forces coordinate or respond. This reinforces the dungeon-design that is applied to the colony. Give thought to what/how the Azlanti would communicate status reports, alerts, and under-fire scenarios. Which Azlanti know what and when should matter.

2. Pacing – Being an adventure where PC-injury is wildly variable, it’s unsurprising that no specific timeline is established. However, the story in RoE work best when taking a speed-of-plot approach of an action movie. The internal logic of the story breaks down quickly if significant periods of time go by between the PCs arrival and the colony’s liberation. Starfinder’s Stamina system already mitigates a lot of short-adventuring day issues but if you want to adhere closely to the adventure as-written it has to be a really tight timeframe. After that, you’ll need the suggested additional prep or improve because what the Azlanti might be doing on Day 1 when the PCs arrive makes NO sense on Day 3.

3. The Resistance…isn’t one – The colony is under the thumb of the Azlanti and no meaningful resistance exists. This doesn’t change once the PCs arrive. Aibretta exists primarily to play quest-giver and the other resistance members personify the fetch-quests. Aside from Aibretta providing shelter and limited aid, the PCs are on their own. As a result, most of Aibretta’s missions are pointless except as a means to acquire necessary XP. Which brings me to…

4. Replace most of the resistance quests – These are old-school fetch-quests that do little to advance the overall story. They also trigger the “wouldn’t strangers be more suspicious than locals?” response. Hobgar Liberation, Cemetary Showdown, the Execution, and the Assault on the Garrison are decent. The rest are a waste of space. This leads me to…

5. Utilize Nakondis more effectively – Replace the aforementioned missions with encounters that better leverage the setting detailed in the Nakondis backmatter article. Instead of looking for a report about a mining accident, have the PCs rescue trapped miners. Colony under water rationing? Have the PCs gather water from Lightning Lake using vehicles. Get some hoverbike vehicle action going. Maybe have the PCs discover that those larger hobgars do exist in a bigfoot-style encounter.

6. Define a timeline – While a compressed timeline for PCs actions in the adventure works best, understanding the timeline in the greater scheme of things helps roleplay NPCs more effectively. The Azlanti have been occupying the colony for at least a couple of weeks prior to the PCs arrival. Sharu’s team is cut off due to the engine overload, but they are still in communication with the colony. This ties back into #1, but once Sharu gets word that things are going badly back at the colony, she should be shifting focus to digging free. If the PCs take too long or rest too frequently, the Azlanti should retreat to the Royal Venture if the colony is slipping their grasp or Sharu and her forces should reinforce the garrison.

7. Don't treat the colony like a dungeon - This one just galls me. Fog or no, people can't hear gunshots or screams? What about the other colonists aside from the "resistance" members? Especially since they have limited numbers, the Azlanti should show as much force as possible when they can.

8. Azlanti Responses – The Azlanti occupiers are a barebones force. They have limited numbers. As presented, this keeps the Azlanti in CR-appropriately managed groups. To be a threat, they have to be intelligent & ruthless opponents. If they can’t find the PCs, can they find their ship? To they set a trap and use a colonist as bait? Do they strongarm a colonist to find and attack the PCs (or Aibretta)? When do they call for reinforcements? With their drones destroyed, can the Azlanti send up some kind of communications relay to contact the Barazad? Etc. These suggestions certainly break the standard CR-encounter design of your typical dungeon but the PCs aren’t in a dungeon. To make the Azlanti memorable, they have to be a threat.


Hi, im trying to set up a game online, but I cant get the maps to convert to roll20 properly, is there a way I can fix this? OR is there something else I can use? I don't have any money or a job so I cant really spend a ton of money on subscriptions or stuff like that so I think ive run out of options and I might have to just cancel my game if I cant find help.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

alaiziadarkstar wrote:
Hi, im trying to set up a game online, but I cant get the maps to convert to roll20 properly, is there a way I can fix this? OR is there something else I can use? I don't have any money or a job so I cant really spend a ton of money on subscriptions or stuff like that so I think ive run out of options and I might have to just cancel my game if I cant find help.

Have you tried?

https://wiki.roll20.net/Aligning_Maps


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Lord Fyre wrote:
alaiziadarkstar wrote:
Hi, im trying to set up a game online, but I cant get the maps to convert to roll20 properly, is there a way I can fix this? OR is there something else I can use? I don't have any money or a job so I cant really spend a ton of money on subscriptions or stuff like that so I think ive run out of options and I might have to just cancel my game if I cant find help.

Have you tried?

https://wiki.roll20.net/Aligning_Maps

wasn't aware it was a thing, thank you.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

alaiziadarkstar wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
alaiziadarkstar wrote:
Hi, im trying to set up a game online, but I cant get the maps to convert to roll20 properly, is there a way I can fix this? OR is there something else I can use? I don't have any money or a job so I cant really spend a ton of money on subscriptions or stuff like that so I think ive run out of options and I might have to just cancel my game if I cant find help.

Have you tried?

https://wiki.roll20.net/Aligning_Maps
wasn't aware it was a thing, thank you.

Hopefully, it helps. :)

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